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A Romantic Getaway to Burntshirt Vineyards in the Carolinas

by Marlene Affeld 4 years ago in vineyard / wine / travel

Are you planning a romantic weekend getaway? There is nothing more romantic than a road trip to the Carolinas.

The area around Henderson offers spectacular scenery, quaint bed and breakfasts, and an opportunity to visit one of North Carolina’s best-kept secrets; the Burntshirt Vineyards in Henderson.

Tucked into the folds of the slopes of the Eastern Continental Divide, the Burntshirt Vineyards, a family-run winery with a history of wine making skills spanning more than 80 years, commands a unique position with two vineyards situated at some of the highest elevations found on the East Coast.

North Carolina folklore tells of a century-old tradition of burning the fields after harvest. To bring good luck and honor nature’s bounty, the vineyard workers would throw their shirts on the fire, a tradition carried on to this day: hence the name.

The owners Lemuel and Sandra Oats began their winemaking careers as North Carolina grape growers. When the couple gained regional recognition for the outstanding quality of their harvests, they decided to commence production of their own premium estate wines.

Spectacular Scenery Surrounds the Vineyards

Nestled in a wind-protect nook at 3400-feet above sea level, the tiny six-acre vineyard at Burntshirt Mountain in Gerton, NC is the higher of the two plats. A natural mountain spring provides water for the vineyard. Surrounded by Little Pisgah, Bear Wallow, and Little Bear Wallow Mountain, the vineyard pond is a sanctuary to deer, bobcat, coyotes, bear, wild turkey, raccoons, and a diverse array of songbirds.

A bit lower down the mountain at approximately 2400-feet, the Sugarloaf Vineyard, home of a former apple orchard, boasts 19 acres of vineyards located on Sugarloaf Road in Henderson, North Carolina.

The winery and tasting room, located in Henderson, are open to the public. Tours are provided at the 10,440-square-foot winery include a demonstration of a state-of-the-art crush pad where the freshly picked grapes are processed within minutes of harvest in the fall.

The Oats explain the wine making process at Burntshirt Vineyards, noting, “We're very proud to announce that our state of the art wine production facility was opened in September 2013. We are now in complete control of our growing and production and are excited about how that will translate to a great bottle of wine for you!

Special equipment de-stems the grapes and pumps them into a wine press, which extracts the juice. Once the grapes are crushed, they are pumped through hoses into the winery's fermentation tanks where the process of winemaking continues. The winery also contains a laboratory to conduct tests on grapes prior to harvest and then later as the wine goes through fermentation to ensure product quality. There is also a storage room for case goods and a hermetically sealed space for a future bottling line.

One of the special features of the winery is a 1,700 square foot barrel room. The room, decorated with low lights and a large barrel and wine bottle chandeliers, mimics a “cave” often found in European chateaus and wineries.”

Visit the website to explore the diversity of their offerings. Immensely popular, the wines are only sold at the winery or shipped from the online shop, and within the state of North Carolina.


Marlene Affeld

“A passionate writer for more than 30 years, Marlene Affeld’s passion for the environment inspires her to write informative articles to assist others in living a green lifestyle.”

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